Archive for March, 2013

How does an octopus eat?

The octopus dwells on the ocean bottom, where it crawls about on its long, flexible tentacles.  It searches in every crevice for its favorite foods—crabs, lobsters, and shellfish.

An octopus’s tentacles are lined with cup-like suckers that enable it to grab and hold tightly to anything it catches.  The octopus then tears apart its prey with its strong parrot-like beak.

Some octopuses can inject a poison with their bite.  This poison is useful to the octopus in getting its food.  For instance, it can render a crab helpless, and thus easy for the octopus to capture and eat. –Dick Rogers

Do butterflies taste with their feet?

Butterflies taste with sensitive taste organs on the soles of their feet, not with their tongues.  Butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers and other plant liquids.  A butterfly cannot bite or chew.  It has a long coiled tube, called a “proboscis,” which it uses like a straw to suck liquids into its mouth.

When the butterfly lands on a flower, its feet taste the flower’s sweetness. When a butterfly finds nectar in a flower, it uncoils its long, hollow proboscis and sucks in the liquid.  The proboscis coils back up out of the way when the butterfly is finished.–Dick Rogers

Can ducks swim without being taught?

Like all young waterfowl, ducks don’t have to be taught how to swim.  A baby duck knows how to swim as soon as it hatches from the egg.  The mother duck leads the ducklings to the water as soon as they can travel.

It will take a duckling six or more weeks before learning to fly.  During their first few months, the young duckling lives on water insects, grasses and other kinds of plant life.

Ducks and most other water birds have a special way to keep dry.  They use their bills to spread waterproofing oil over their feathers.  The oil comes from a gland near their tails.–Dick Rogers

How can fish breathe in water?

Fish breathe with gills, which are inside the fish’s head on each side of its throat.  The gills are made of a thin material that allows the fish’s blood to come close to the surface of the gills.  Water contains large amounts of oxygen.

When a fish breathes, it takes a mouthful of water, and then closes its mouth.  This forces the water pass the gills.  The oxygen in the water is absorbed through the think surfaces of the gills, and into the fish’s blood.  The water then leaves the fish’s body through narrow gill slits on each side of its heard.–Dick Rogers

How does a rattlesnake rattle?

It’s easy to recognize a rattlesnake by the rattle at the end of its tail.  The rattle is a series of horny, cup-shaped rings that fit loosely into one another.  When a rattlesnake rattles, it is usually because it has become alarmed.

This makes it vibrate its tail rapidly.  The hollow rings strike together and make  a sharp buzzing sound.

By making its rattling noises, the rattlesnake is able to warn away bigger animals that might step on it or harm it.  Although a rattlesnake often gives a warning before it strikes it may also strike without rattling.–Dick Rogers

Do dogs dream?

We do not really know if dogs dream, because they are not able to tell us when they wake up.  But dogs do appear to dream.  If you have a dog, you may have noticed that when it is asleep, it sometimes yelps or growls, roll its eyes and even twitches its legs as though it were chasing something.

Most dog owners  believe this to be a sign that their dog is dreaming.  But even though your dog may appear to be dreaming, what goes on when it whines and moves in its sleep is probably not the same as what goes on in your brain when you are dreaming.–Dick Rogers

What happened to the dodo bird?

The dodo is one of the birds that no one will ever see alive, for it has been extinct for nearly 300 years.  The dodo had a big fat body, and short, stubby wings, and was unable to fly. “Simpleton” (dodo) was the name Portuguese explorers gave this clumsy bird when they first saw it on two islands in the Indian Ocean.

For a time, the sailors who stopped at these islands saw a great number of dodos.  But the sailors killed many dodos to eat.  Rats and dogs that the men brought with them killed even more.  Before long, there weren’t any dodos left.  –Dick Rogers

What is the smallest fish?

Minnows, may be considered small, but the pygmy goby is much smaller.  In fact, it is the world’s smallest known adult fish.  This tiny occupant of the lakes and streams of the Philippines hardly ever grows longer than one-half inch (1.3 centimeters).

As small as they are, pygmy bogies are a vital part of the marine life cycle in the lakes and streams they inhabit.  They get food energy and other nutrients by eating small plants and animals.

Later, many bogies are eaten by biggest animals that absorb some of the energy and nutrients.–Dick Rogers

How are seashells formed?

The protecting shells of clams and other shell forming mollusks are built by a special part of the mollusk’s body called the mantle.  This skin-like organ surrounds the animal’s soft body like an envelope.

Glands inside the mantle produce the substances that make the shell, in the form of a liquid.  The mantle squeezes out the liquid shell materials and adds them to the shell as the mollusks grows.

The lines of growth are usually clearly marked by ridges on the outer surface of the shell.  The food eaten by a mollusk provides the minerals that form the shell and give it color.–Dick Rogers